7 easy ways to manage hard water issues
Did you know that up to 90% of US households deal with hard water issues?
Granted, hard water isn’t a major health concern, but it can cause minor skin irritations. It’s also more than a nuisance, as it can lead to long-term corrosion damage in plumbing pipes. Over time, corroded pipes can leach toxic chemicals and metals into the water.
That’s why as early as now, you should learn about the best water softener and best hard water solutions to use at home. This way, you no longer have to keep bathing or showering in water that leaves an “icky” film on your skin. Nor do you have to resign yourself to wearing clothes that always feel stiff or as if they’re not clean enough.
Ready to learn the most effective ways on how to deal with hard water? Then let’s get right into it!
1. Boil “Temporary” Hard Water
Temporary hard water is hard water that mostly contains calcium bicarbonate. Boiling precipitates the dissolved minerals out of the water. Since boiling removes the water’s calcium content, the result is softer water.
Boiling is a quick and cheap way to fix hard water for consumption purposes. However, it only addresses temporary hardness and not permanent hardness. The latter contains dissolved calcium sulfate that boiling will not remove.
2. Remove Soap Scum Using a Hard Water Cleaning Aid
The minerals in hard water react with the chemical contents of soap to create “soap scum”. Also known as lime soap, soap scum is the white solid build-up you find on water fixtures. It also tends to accumulate on sinks, drains, tiles, shower doors, and tubs.
Soap scum forms due to the positively-charged calcium atoms in the water. These atoms prevent soap molecules from dissolving. Instead, the undissolved soap molecules end up attaching and accumulating on surfaces.
To fix these hard water side-effects, use a cleaning formula designed for hard water. These products contain a solution that counters the positive calcium atoms in hard water. They make it easier to rinse away soap, which then helps prevent them from forming scum in the first place.
3. Use Washing Soda When Doing the Laundry
Using washing soda is one of the best techniques on how to treat hard water for laundry purposes. It’s a type of chemical that consists of carbonic acid salt (sodium carbonate). It helps soften both temporary and permanent hard water.
In simple terms, washing soda gets rid of the dissolved calcium and magnesium in hard water. The removal of these mineral ions from the water results in softer water. This helps make it easier for soaps to lather up.
4. Apply Some Distilled White Vinegar to Remove Hard Water Stains
Calcium is alkaline by nature, which means that its pH level is more than 7. White distilled vinegar, on the other hand, is very acidic, as it has a pH level of about 2.5. It’s in this way that vinegar can help neutralize the calcium content of hard water.
However, you wouldn’t want to dump boatloads of vinegar in your drinking water, would you? That’s why using vinegar as a water softener is only ideal for cleaning. You may also use it as a cleaning aid for hand washing clothes.
You can soak fixtures with limescale build-up in a bowl of distilled vinegar for at least an hour. You can also use spray some vinegar on appliances and surfaces to remove hard water film and spots.
5. Consider a Magnetic Water Conditioner
Magnetic water conditioners use a magnetic field to condition water. No, they don’t completely soften water. However, they may already be suitable for homes that have slight to moderately hard water.
These devices are usually connected to the main water line. Their magnetic field alters the properties of impurities in the water.
For instance, these changes will cause mineral ions to separate from each other. As a result, it’ll be harder for them to stick together and form limescale on surfaces. The minerals will still be in the water, but they’ll drain rather than settle.
6. Install a Faucet Water Softener
The easiest, most convenient way to fix hard water is to use a water softener. To keep your installation costs low, you may choose to get just a faucet or an under-sink softener.
Sodium- or Potassium Chloride-Based Softeners
Most softening systems use crystalline substances, such as sodium or potassium chloride. This solution holds and suspends a softening medium, which in most cases, is a type of resin. These softeners rely on a process called “ion exchange”.
Ion exchange occurs as soon as the water flows through the softener. This process forces the water’s mineral ions to swap with the softener’s chloride ions. The minerals that make the water hard remain in the softener’s chamber.
This swapping or removal of the mineral ions then results in softer water.
Salt-Free Water Softeners
Your other option is to install a saltless water softener. Instead of “exchanging ions”, it will transform mineral ions into very tiny crystals. This then results in the crystalized minerals becoming suspended in the water.
So with a salt-free softener, the water retains its calcium and magnesium content. However, the mineral ions won’t be able to “attach” themselves to surfaces. This can then help reduce the risk of scale build-up on your fixtures and plumbing pipes.
These devices don’t use salt, but instead turn calcium ions into nanocrystals. This crystallization then suspends the calcium ions in the water. They remain in the water, but they don’t come into contact with any other surfaces.
7. Invest in a Whole House Water Softening System
A whole-house water softener tackles hard water as soon as it reaches your main water supply line. Every water outlet in your home will produce softened water. It’s a big investment, but one that’s worth it since you’ll get soft water in every part of your home.
Implement These Hard Water Solutions Now
There you have it, the ultimate list of hard water solutions you can use at home. If you only have slightly hard water, then a magnetic water conditioner may suffice. For harder water, it may be best to install an under-sink or whole-house water softening system.
If you do opt for the latter, be sure that the unit will come with a lengthy warranty. Some manufacturers even provide a lifetime warranty, so be sure to check for such offers too.
Looking for more how-to guides like this to boost your home’s livability and safety? Then be sure to head over to our site’s Lifestyle section!